Yasmin Ghorami is twenty-six, in training to be a doctor (like her Indian-born father) and engaged to the charismatic, upper-class Joe Sangster, whose domineering mother Helen is a famous feminist. Though both Yasmin's parents and Joe's mother approve of the marriage, the cultural gulf between them is vast as, it turns out, is the gulf in sexual experience between Yasmin and Joe. From the author of "Brick Lane".
... worth the wait ... The novel begins as a social comedy with the finely tuned cultural observations only found in the very best works of the East meets West literary tradition ... his great archaeological dig to uncover what is at the heart of contemporary humanity truly delivers on the promise of what Brick Lane suggested might come next from Ali ... What we are also far too familiar with as a society is the painful reality of the dark secrets that often lay undiscovered beneath cultural silences such as these. Ali’s delicate unravelling of the secret burning threads that tie families in knots for generations is exquisite ... The beating heart of this novel is the author’s uncompromising scrutiny of the messy, heart-breaking, head-wrecking, brutal beauty of family dynamics. All the characters are flawed, capable of receiving and delivering hurts, and a bundle of contradictions. This may be true of us all but, when the full gamut of potential human behaviour is captured with grit and grace on the page, it truly elevates the literature to become a lens of enlightenment through which we can finally see ourselves. Heroes and anti-heroes fuse to create multidimensional characters who each evoke huge empathy ... Ali’s rendering of sibling-parent relationships is a masterclass in family psychology played out with subtlety, intellect and great humour ... could be the novel we all desperately need to read in 2022. Rich, insightful, soulful, with a cast of characters not easily forgotten, this is a traditional novel in the best sense of the word. It offers the sort of immersive reading experience that may remind you why you first fell in love with reading.
The subtleties of hospital hierarchy and the reality of life on an overstretched, underfunded (this is 2016) geriatrics ward are so vividly described you might wonder if Ali has spent the past ten years training to be a medic. But of course, as one of Harriet’s novelist friends points out in one of the book’s few moments of clunky meta-commentary, a fiction writer needn’t write only about the things she has experienced ... There are many things Ali wants to talk to us about in this epic but easy to read book ... Love Marriage is Brick Lane for 2022 with nicer interiors and more sex, and will be lapped up by fans of Ali’s debut. Yet it is also the work of a mature feminist author who is ready, after her novels about chefs and princesses, to return to the knotty problem at the heart of British family life: how can we bring up our children when we do not understand their world, nor they ours? Is love enough? Yasmin and her family work together to answer this question, becoming dear friends to the reader along the way.
Packed with compelling characters and thrilling plot twists, Love Marriage is surely poised to be just as big [as Brick Lane] – and, arriving a decade after her last novel,it is more than worth the wait ... Once again the book is a brilliant exploration of the complexities of human connection ... A backdrop of division proves counter-intuitively fitting for a novel about unity – between cultures, families and couples. Even as its ending looks poised to atomise its characters and their connections, Love Marriage’s final note is one of hope and togetherness.